Adams rules as Kings tame Wildcats

Fraser Barton |

Star import Jaylen Adams has scored 31 points as he led the surging Sydney Kings to a 98-95 NBL home win over the Perth Wildcats.

Trading haymaker after haymaker in Saturday night’s final quarter, Sydney (9-7) almost let slip a seven-point lead down the stretch when they gifted the visitors six straight points in a matter of seconds from the charity stripe.

Down 96-95, Vic Law had an opportunity to win it from deep for Perth (8-5) with 13 seconds remaining, but it rattled off before the Kings’ outlet pass found Xavier Cooks for an exclamation dunk to ice the game on the horn.

But it was Adams who controlled the contest from the outset, powering to 28 points through three quarters before combining with Jarell Martin and debutant import Ian Clark in the final term.

Adams improved on his late-game heroics from the Kings’ last outing, with 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, as he duelled with Wildcats ace Bryce Cotton (33 points).

The Kings have now won six of their last seven NBL outings and are knocking on the door of the top four, with the trio of Adams, Cooks and Martin imperative to their hot streak.

“Health’s played a huge part of it,” Kings coach Chase Buford said of the Kings’ run of form.

“We were so banged up, hurt, guys in and out early in the year and (it’s) not an excuse, but you know, we had some tough games. We weren’t able to get over the line a couple times even when we did get our guys back.

“I think there’s a confidence growing in this group that we know we can come out and compete with anybody in the league.

“And we’re just fired up to come compete every night.”

Clark finished with 13 points in 20 minutes hitting three of his four attempts from beyond the arc, as the 371-game NBA veteran was clutch in the dying stages for his new club.

“I feel great, It was a big win for us,” Clark said.

“That first first couple minutes I was just anxious trying to get the feel of the game but once we got I got going, we got competing, it felt great.

“I want to thank the coaches and my teammates, they just helped me so much and it feels good to just be back out there and compete.”

For the Wildcats, Cotton was at his MVP level best all evening but fellow star Law struggled, shooting 4-13 on the night. 

Saturday’s loss is Perth’s third from their last four outings, and it doesn’t get any easier with their next clash against fellow heavyweights South East Melbourne in one week.